Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Guard rails to keep us on the right path"

In the previous post I excerpted from Trevin Wax's summary of the lecture Timothy George gave, "Baptists in Relation to Other Christians." This one I particularly liked because it addresses the issue of creedalism, but emphasizes the importance of creeds — a distinction, I fear, we do not always make, but should. Trevin Wax's outline of what Timothy George said:
Timothy George delivered a message from Jude. He made a case for rejecting creedalism, while emphasizing the value of creeds. He balanced the need for the faith (objective, divine revelation), my faith (subjective, personal trust) and the church’s faith (corporate, public witness to the gospel).

1. The faith.
  • The essential message of Christianity. What God has done in Jesus Christ.
  • Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed are expressions of the faith.
  • We are against creeds that are above the Bible, irrevisable, or forced by civil sanction.
  • So why do we need creeds? They are like guard rails to keep us on the right path.
  • The faith has objective content and is divinely revealed by God.
2. My faith.
  • The objective side of faith is not sufficient. We are to exercise saving, believing faith (trust).
  • One of the primary traits of evangelicalism is personal conversion.
  • Has the faith become your faith?
3. The Church’s Faith
  • The faith and my faith taken in isolation from one another lead to dead ends.
  • The Church’s faith is rooted in the objectivity of God’s revelation in Jesus Christ.
  • We need to recover the Baptist catechisms, because they teach us about the church’s faith.
  • The church’s faith is meant to be sung as well as said, prayed as well as proclaimed.
  • The church’s faith is public. It cannot be kept to ourselves.
Trevin Wax then provides some "memorable quotes" from the lecture:
  • “No creed but the Bible” is a pretext for “neither creed, nor the Bible.”
  • God give us creeds, but deliver us from creedalism!
  • Dependence upon God is where the faith becomes my faith.
  • As long as the faith remains detached, a mere system of doctrine kept at arm’s length, we are like Nicodemus, who discovers he must be born again.
  • The faith without my faith leads to arid scholasticism, joyless, dead orthodoxy. My faith without the faith ends up in sloppy sentimentalism.
  • Some people who hear about a Baptist Catechism think you might as well be talking about a pregnant Pope or a married bachelor.
  • Ecclesiology is the new frontier of evangelical theology in the 21st century.
Timothy George: Baptists in Relation to Other Christians : Kingdom People

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